Indian-origin spinner Monty Panesar, who has played 50 Tests and 26 ODIs for England, feels Virat's team will be a strong contender for the World Test Championship (WTC) final. Axar Patel, the spinner who made him a place again in the Indian team, is very much liked. He believes that at present there is no one in world cricket like Axar Patel. Abhishek Tripathi talks to Monty Panesar about the WTC final and then the tour of England. Here are the key parts:
It mostly depends on the weather, if it is hot and sunny then India will be ahead. The WTC final is to be held in Southampton. The technology is also good for drying the ground and the weather there is also hot. Where two spinners can be played. In this way, if we talk about the venue of the match, then India's upper hand seems to be heavy.
How successful can India's current spin bowling attack be on England pitches?
It depends on the field and the pitch. If you talk about the pitch of Southampton in England, then there is less rain than Manchester. After the WTC final, India has to play a Test series against England in July and August also, so I think two spinners can be played in the match at that time. And they will prove to be more effective.
Recently, in the home Test series against England, spinner Axar Patel stunned the English batsmen with his straight balls. So how many chances are there of him being successful in England?
- I think Axar is a very good bowler on spin-friendly pitches and he has also bowled well for Durham County Club team on England pitches. So it will be interesting to see him bowling on flat pitches. But if we talk about the tanning pitches of India, there he took his strength and wickets with a straight ball. He knows how to get a batsman out and I think there is no straight ball wicket-taker in world cricket at the moment other than him.
Ashwin has taken 14 wickets in six matches on England pitches while Jadeja has taken 16 wickets in five matches. In such a situation, there has not been any special performance of these two in England. What do you think is wrong with these two bowlers on the pitches of England?
I think both of them should just bowl on their strength. Sometimes bad times happen. In such a situation, Ashwin and Jadeja should watch videos of their best bowling spells and strengthen their mindset. Both of them are excellent bowlers and nothing can be said about them.
India dropped wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav from the Test team. Do you think wrist spin bowlers have a place in Test cricket or not?
I think when the wicket is not helpful to the spin bowlers then it becomes very difficult for them. Kuldeep will have to focus on his accuracy. You can't keep the ball flying in the air for long. If you do this then you can play as the third spinner in the team. If he has to make a place in the team as a second spinner, he has to be aggressive along with bowling defensively and taking wickets. I think he is a naturally aggressive bowler and can play as the third spin bowler in India.